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BioMed Research International
Volume 2019, Article ID 8382160, 10 pages
Research Article

Comparability of Self-Ratings and Observer Ratings in Occupational Psychosocial Risk Assessments: Is There Agreement?

Teaching and Research Area for Occupational Health Psychology, RWTH Aachen University, Aachen, Germany

Correspondence should be addressed to Isabell Schneider; ed.nehcaa-htwr@redienhcs.llebasi

Received 16 March 2019; Revised 21 May 2019; Accepted 25 May 2019; Published 12 June 2019

Guest Editor: Giorgi Gabriele

Copyright © 2019 Isabell Schneider et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Objective. The suitability of self-ratings and observer ratings within organisational management approaches is controversial. The aim of this study was to compare the degree of agreement between self-rated and observer-rated occupational psychosocial demands. The comparison took place within a work-activity and not worker-centred assessment, according to official policies for psychosocial risk assessment. Through simultaneous application of two versions of the same instrument, we aimed to reduce the rating bias to a minimum demonstrating the suitability of self-ratings and observer ratings in companies of all kinds. Methods. A multimethod online assessment of 22 different work activities was conducted in Germany from October 2016 to October 2017. Workers (self-ratings) and occupational safety and health (OSH) committees (observer ratings) rated the occupational psychosocial risks of each activity with the same instrument (N = 669). The instrument measured psychosocial risk conditions at work. Reliability and agreement indices were computed. Results. The within-group agreement (WGA; =  .42) of the workers’ self-ratings was good for each psychosocial risk and the interrater reliability (IRR) was excellent on average (ICC 2 =  .77) with a medium effect size of ICC 1 =  .15. The interrater agreement (IRA) between the two groups varied across the activities depending on rating group and activity composition (from =  .39 to =  .86) but was good to excellent on average ( =  .71). Conclusion. The reasonable agreement and excellent reliability in workers’ self-ratings justify aggregation of item means at the group level. Furthermore, if the work activities are homogenous and the committee consists of members from different OSH specialties, observer ratings and self-ratings provide comparable results. According to this study’s results, both methods are reliable assessment strategies in the context of psychosocial risk assessment. The observer rating approach is especially suitable for small-to-medium enterprises that do not have access to a large anonymous survey assessment.